Luxury outdoor umbrellas should last a long time in your backyard oasis. But for your umbrella to maintain its durability and continue to look good, it does require some maintenance. Chances are your shade feature has been beaten by the sun, whipped by the wind, and subject to dirt from bird droppings, tree sap and more. Your best bet for keeping it in tip top shape is keeping it clean. Use this short guide with instructions on how to clean a patio umbrella, no matter what type of material it is made from.
Clean the Canopy
Cleaning a patio umbrella starts from the top down.
While the umbrella is still upright and on the frame, use a soft brush to remove any loose dirt from the canopy fabric. In fact, this is a good step to take periodically throughout the spring, summer and fall months to keep dirt from settling deep into the fabric’s weave.
Remove the Canopy from the Frame
If the canopy can be removed from the frame, do so. It may have a cleaning tag attached that tells you whether the fabric can be machine washed. If so, use a gentle or waterproof fabric cycle on your machine as water can get trapped in the folds of the fabric during the spin cycle. Opt for a cold-water wash and spin with as much laundry detergent as you would normally use for a bulky load.
If necessary, treat stains with a spot remover made for carpet. For stubborn stains, try using a bit of turpentine for tree sap or a degreaser for oily spots. You may want to test a small portion of the fabric first if you are worried about color fastness. If your umbrella canopy is made from Sunbrella fabric, it should be just fine since the color is woven through the material.
Cleaning the Canopy if it Can’t Be Removed
To clean a patio umbrella while still on the frame, use a ¼ cup of gentle, watered-down detergent (such as Woolite) mixture in a gallon bucket of warm water. Dip a soft bristled brush into the cleaning solution and use circular motions to rub the dirt from the fabric. For stains, let the detergent sit on the canopy for 15 minutes to half an hour before rinsing it off with a hose or clean bucket of water.
How to Clean Outdoor Umbrella Mold
If your patio umbrella has mold or mildew stains, you will need to be more aggressive. Cleaning patio umbrella mold, mildew and other tough stains requires you to apply a cleaning solution of 1 cup bleach mixed with a ¼ cup mild detergent, such as Dawn, added to a gallon of warm water. Use this solution to fill a spray bottle and spray it on the affected areas until completely saturated. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then use a soft brush to gently scrub the stain. Finally, hose it down or throw it in the washing machine, if possible, for a final rinse to remove all traces of detergent and bleach.
Let the Umbrella Dry
The final and most important step in how to clean a patio umbrella is to let it air dry completely. Place the canopy in the sun so it dries quickly before installing it back on the frame or open the canopy completely and let it dry in place before closing it up. Never place your umbrella canopy in the dryer.
Cleaning a patio umbrella needn’t be difficult or time consuming. If you have gone through these steps on how to clean a patio umbrella and are not satisfied with the results, we encourage you to contact us as we can replace the canopy and fix the frame, as necessary.